Mr and Mrs Stumpy
It has been a crazy ride. Man oh man… I still can’t believe sometimes that our life has taken this turn. We were honest to goodness lifers in the religion. We gave it everything and were happy to do so for “God” and the “universal issue.”
At the start being awake was very difficult. I had tried really hard to be a good, kind and caring elder and Mrs Stumpy was a sweet, thoughtful caring teacher to her students as she pioneered. We felt like we were part of something much bigger than ourselves, something meaningful and helpful. With that all gone it was very difficult. That, and facing up to the reality that we will both die one day, just like everyone and everything else on this planet. But slowly as the weeks and months passed, the good days started to outweigh the bad days. Lately it is about one day every two weeks where we have a bit of a down day as we try to reset our lives and face the fact we have wasted a lot of years. Plus, it is taking a bit of time to replace the purpose and direction (albeit grossly mistaken) we had in our lives. But we told ourselves we wouldn’t mope around and let the cult take any more of our energy than was necessary. We only have this life now and we are going to make the most of it.
So as far as leaving and fading we just couldn’t be stuffed dragging it out. We knew what the end result would be either way with our family and friends. It was inevitable and to delay it was just going to be frustrating and futile. Mrs Stumpy has her mum kind of in. I have my parents, and on one side of the family I have grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Because we’d been overseas for so long we weren’t too close to any of them except the parents and grandparents.
My family are die hard, Watchtower-before-absolutely-anything Jehovah’s Witnesses… except for my mum who is a very sheltered person that just goes along for the ride with my dad. She hadn’t even heard about the new generation teaching when I asked her… and she’s an elder’s wife. You know those sisters that claim to have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and all sorts of other maladies that may or may not be real? That’s my mum. She does have some real things wrong with her health too but she definitely plays the ‘sick’ card when it suits her. She hardly goes out in service and when she does it’s just return visits. She misses meetings whenever she can, hasn’t commented or given a talk in decades, never reads the magazines or new releases and prepares her tower in 5 minutes by randomly underlining every third line. She pioneered 45 years ago for 12 months and still lives off that glory. She’s a perfect example of being stuck in the FOG with the Watchtower. I think the fear, obligation and guilt is a huge cause of all of these so called sicknesses lots of Witnesses, especially many sisters like my mum, have. I would feel sorry for her if she wasn’t such a total bitch about us leaving.
My Dad is one of those hard arse, everything is black and white, elders you definitely don’t want on your Judicial Committee. He claims to be anointed. They knew something was up. We were quickly getting sick of being around them and their stupid, ignorant, self-righteous, justifying everything conversation. So we planned things out well to escape and then ripped the band aid off quick.
We had been away on international construction assignments, in Bethel and serving where the need was great for quite a few years. I used that to my advantage and told the body of elders that I had dealt with a lot overseas and I was burnt out and couldn’t deal with these ones as kindly as I should be, as Jesus would… that I needed a break. I didn’t ask I just said I’m stepping aside for a bit and that’s it. It shocked them but no one was game to confront me on it as they could see I was serious. The Circuit Overseers visit was the following week. I used a bit of theocratic warfare and told him if I have a break for a year now I will be back serving in 12 months. If I don’t, I’ll step aside in 12 months anyway and will most likely never be back serving. He bought it. I actually liked him. Our last conversation was about the Royal Commission. He was watching all of it with great interest. The hardest part of my final weeks of being an elder was giving the memorial talk and an assembly part while fully awake. The assembly part had a section on how loving shunning is… right! (I skipped that part.)
So I go from elder giving an assembly part and memorial talk one month, to no longer an elder the next. Dad knew something was up. Our conversations had been tedious and trying when before conversation flowed pretty easily. Him supposedly being anointed led to some very interesting conversations about inter-galactic travel and exploration after the 1,000 years, the anointed possibly being able to materialize on earth eventually (so he could see my mum) and all sorts of other strange fantasies.
I start telling him during our phone conversations I’ve been collecting older publications and I start telling him some of the stuff I’ve been finding. He’s not interested in old light he says. I said but it was written with the help of God’s holy spirit. Still no dice.
So instead I started questioning him on things said at the Royal Commission which was happening live at the time. Every day I sent him the new recordings. His back was getting up. You see he and my mum had refused to go to the police (under the elders direction) over the abuse of a family member many years ago. I didn’t find out about it till years after the fact as I was living overseas. It should be dealt with internally so as not to bring reproach upon Jehovah’s name I was told. It was a big scar over our family. This was against everything I thought was moral. When the Royal Commission started, I got in contact with that family member and I told my parents we were going to tell the police everything.
On a side note I once had a CO threaten to remove me if I didn’t follow the societies directions of not calling the police (this has since changed). We had a lot of child abuse issues come up in the area, some involving a dozen kids, and none of them were handled properly. It sickened me. I told him to go ahead, I was going to let the cops know no matter what and I would tell all the parents in the congregation too. It was the right thing to do.
Anyway back on track… so eventually my parents get worried to the point they come over. After some uncomfortable small talk my Mum straight out asks me if I still believed it was the truth. She wouldn’t give up, acting all spiritual and self-righteous. This is the same woman that couldn’t explain the prophesy of how we came to 1914 if she tried, even with the explanation and pictures in front of her. I looked at Mrs Stumpy and gave her the look of ‘this is it’, we may as well get it over with. I went into my office and brought out all my folders of research and laid them in front of them both. I told them it was only scans and originals of the societies publications. They refused to look at them. After opening them myself and showing them the scans and that they were legit, my dad spent 2 minutes reading part of one article and said I was mad.
At least he gave it a good shot to see his son’s point of view.
I asked him how many books he read before accepting the “truth”. He said one and a half. I asked him if he had researched the religion at all in depth before committing himself to it. He said he didn’t need to, that it had the ring of truth to it. I asked why Jehovah’s Witnesses? He said when he was young he was filling up his car and there was a nice, polite well-dressed, well behaved family there and he thought to himself they must be part of the true religion. (At this time he was also into Erich von Däniken’s book ‘Chariots of the God’s). So he starts searching for the religion this family must be part of and lo and behold, his next girlfriend is studying with the witnesses. The rest is history. I say to him – “So you see this family, fall for a girl, assume the family were witnesses, read almost 2 books, study for a few months and then get baptised without looking into their history at all?” “How do you know the family were witnesses!?! They could have been Mormons, Baptists, Catholics or anything!”
I questioned him on the quote from Geoffrey Jackson about them not being Gods spokespeople. “Why would he say that?”
I said well I agree with what Geoffrey says.
He starts getting red.
I said well either Geoffrey was lying when he said that, in which case he needs to be dealt with, or it’s true and we should all believe him as a Governing Body member that they are not Gods spokesmen. Which one is it?
Blank stare but getting very red now.
He says he couldn’t say that they were God’s spokespeople because they would have taken it the wrong way and made fun of us.
I’m about to go into a tirade of how disgusting, hypocritical and cowardly that was and how was it that when we were at school with the national anthem we HAD to stand up for the truth in front of the whole school…
My mum cuts me off and asks again if I believe it’s the truth.
I ask her about a previous conversation we had about God killing billions of people at Armageddon. She started agreeing with me that it isn’t like a loving God to do that. Dad cuts in and says that we don’t deserve to live anyway so it doesn’t matter if they all get wiped out. It’s Gods justice and he has to act consistently.
I say well he certainly is consistent when it comes to killing innocent people! He consistently murdered people and whole nations full of innocent women, children and animals in the Bible and he’ll be consistent when he massacres 99.99% of the earth’s population at Armageddon. (As I show them the quote in the WT 1958 Oct 15 pg. 614)
My mum freaks out, starts screaming and looking at me like I’m Satan’s spawn and runs down stairs – screaming all the way – and locks herself in the car. I haven’t seen her since. It’s been six months.
Dad strangely enough lets her go on her own. I know now this is him wrapping things up and his body language is starting to distance himself from me. I know he will start shunning me as soon as he steps out the door.
He looks at me and asks if I’m out of the truth. I tell him “if you can answer just one of my questions just from the Bible I’ll stay a witness.”
I say all your teachings are Bible based, right?
And they can all be backed up with Scripture, right?
Then from the Bible, explain to me the new overlapping generation teaching.
Blank stare with a now permanently glowing red face.
“You know this is a fundamental teaching dad? And you can’t come up with a single Scripture to prove it to me without a doubt?”
Blank stare, then… “You need to have more faith son.”
“So no explanation or Scriptures are needed for basic fundamental teachings anymore, just faith and conjecture?”
Deer in the headlight look.
He gets up, tells me he loves me in a way that really means goodbye and leaves.
I’m surprisingly calm as he walks down the stairs. I knew it was always going to end like this whether it be today or in a year from now.
As he walked down the steps it just occurred to me that the Jehovah’s Witness gossip mill would be in overdrive as soon as they got home. Like most dubs, my mum loved hearing and spreading juicy gossip. She also loves having something physically or emotionally affect her so much she can have an excuse to miss meetings and field service whenever she wants. I had just given her the best reason ever – her son was now apostate.
So I raced down the stairs and got to the car just before Dad gets in. I ask him to give me a few days to let my close friends know I’m no longer a witness. That I’d rather tell them myself, instead of them hearing it second hand. He agreed. In fact, he said he wouldn’t tell a soul about me, but he couldn’t give the same promise about my mum.
Then they drove off, never to be seen again.
First thing my mum does when she gets home is tell absolutely everybody. She must have revelled in the sympathy. She had her health problems (real and made up), a husband that was going to leave her at Armageddon and now her only child left in the cult had turned apostate so she would be all alone in the new system.
Like I said, I’d feel sorry for her if she was a normal loving mum. But what kind of mother shuns her own flesh and blood just because they believe in something different, especially after looking at all the proof? What kind of a mother races out and tries to get her son disfellowshipped when I told her we are just going to quietly fade away and we could still have amicable non-religious contact? What kind of a mother can give up on someone she birthed and raised and loved her whole life… just like that?
Also, what kind of a mother can justify shunning one of her sons yet still keeps in contact with her other son and daughter, even though they are as much out of the cult as I am?!? Just because they have her grandkids she somehow justifies it is ok. We can’t have kids, and so because of that medical anomaly we’re cut off. The hypocrisy leaves me speechless and disgusted.
My dad. Well he’s just waiting to die so he can go to heaven anyway so he’s already disengaged from everyone and everything. It’s very weird and I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.
So anyways the gossip mill runs overtime and close friends hear about us before I could even contact them. 40 plus years of friendships are gone… poof… just like that. Friends we’d grown up with, camped with, travelled overseas with, pioneered with, worked alongside at assemblies into all hours of the night with, ate with, drank with, danced with, laughed with, cried with… all gone.
The thing that pisses me of the most about my really good ‘friends’ is that they wouldn’t even listen to my side of the story. Once they knew I didn’t believe anymore, that was it, I was dead meat to them.
Over the years I had many in-depth discussions with elders, missionaries, CO’s, bethelites and even branch overseers, a lot of them were close friends. All of them had questions and doubts. Every single one of them. Most of my good friends were well travelled and not naïve. I liked that about them. They weren’t just dub-bots like most elders. When you have lived in or travelled to third world countries you know that there is no way the preaching work is going to reach everyone in the world the way Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing it. How on earth is a family living in the slums of Bangladesh going to be able to read a Watchtower, let alone find one, and get the truth?
So most of them made up some alternative viewpoint to justify things to themselves like God massacring billions at Armageddon.
One conclusion some of us came to was that when the Jews exited Egypt, an untold number of non-Jews went with them because they actually saw proof of God in real life, with their own eyes. That’s what made them believers… not some magazine offered to you while you’re half asleep on a Saturday morning that talks about smoking. We thought that God could finally reveal himself somehow in the great tribulation, and people would see he is real, then maybe it could be a parallel to the Egyptian exodus. That would at least be the loving thing to do… and it has a Biblical precedent. Either way none of my thinking friends believed the current teaching would happen.
When I called them on this I said that because they don’t agree with the current societies teaching as far as Armageddon then they are just as much an apostate as I was. A little bit or a lot is still apostasy by their own definition.
One of my best friends, who is also a coordinator of a congregation, is very dismayed about the overlapping generation teaching, the tele-evangelist videos, the child abuse cover-ups in Australia, the lies told at the Royal Commission, the liability put on elders and the begging for money among other things. He told me straight to my face that he thinks the current governing body has apostatised and Jehoober is going to step in soon and clean it all up… we just have to stick it out and wait on him to make changes in his organisation. And he was the first one of my mates to shun me!!!
Every single one of my thinking ‘friends’ had one or more of these concerns. Yet all their doubts and concerns about the society and different teachings that were shared with me over countless beers and scotches now mystically disappeared. When I brought up prior conversations we had had, they conveniently forgot.
That pissed me off the most as we were leaving!
So now we’re moving on with our lives. We’re excited, nervous and still feel a little lost at the moment.
We decided we had better get a jump on sorting out our life, seeing we were actually going to be retired one day. We bought our first house a couple of months ago and are now knee deep in renovations which are keeping us busy (a good thing). We held off buying for such a long time as the new system was “just around the corner”. We would never have bought a house like this one as it would have taken way too much time away from the cult. We have a beautiful garden and lawn and amazing views from our front and back decks. We’re very excited about it. I actually enjoy doing the yard work and love being a home owner. Now to just fix it all up to how we want it and pay it off before we retire.
Having something to focus on and keep us busy while we were in transition of losing all our friends has been very helpful for us.
I have been growing our business too and it’s a wonderful free feeling of being able to do that without witnesses judging you for being materialistic. Having all that extra time in the week helps too. I still kick myself when I think of all the time I wasted as a cult member!
This year we celebrated our first birthdays. It felt weird being the first time in our lives, and with only the two of us. But was fun to do it, even if it only was for defiance to the Watchtower. I kept joking that if there was a beheading on my birthday it would be a sign from god. Nothing on the day… but later that week we turned on the news and there had sadly been a beheading in Syria. Weird and eerie. But if it was God behind it he was late again as always.
We also had our first Christmas with my sister and my nieces. We went a bit overboard with the presents but it was really fun. My sister had left many years ago but was still mentally trapped… I’ll talk about her in a minute.
This month was the first time I bought an Easter egg too. There was a JW working at the store and I wanted him to see me so I bought the biggest one I could find and put it on the top of the basket Fun to do but I discovered Easter egg chocolate sucks so I most likely won’t bother again. I’d rather just get a good block of chocolate instead. Plus he didn’t see me so I missed out on that bit of a fun stir.
Back to my sister. One of the first things I wanted to make sure of was whether my sister and brother were fully mentally out. My brother was totally out and had read most ofjwfacts.com. But sadly, after 10+ years of being physically out, my sister was still mentally trapped by the Watchtower teachings and the guilt we had pummelled into us growing up. It broke my heart to think she had carried this around with her for so long, living her life in some horrible sort of JW-exJW limbo. So I sent her my research and got her free asap. It felt great being able to do that for her. She didn’t actually believe me at first that we had left, we were that deep into it. She thought I was trying to trick her
We’ve become very close to my brother and sister these last 12 months and that has brought a lot of joy to us all. The weird thing is that my parents haven’t mentioned a thing about us not being dubs to them. We have a running bet to see how long they can hold off for.
So now I have reconnected with my “worldy” brother and sister and we are having a blast celebrating all the holidays we couldn’t as kids. They don’t really mean anything to us as adults now, but it’s awesome seeing my brand new nephew and two nieces growing up outside of the cult influence and doing normal things kids should get to experience.
Mrs Stumpy has always been close to her non-JW sister and that relationship has just become stronger too.
Despite what the Witnesses will have you believe about marriage being impossible without Jehovah as the third cord, we have found exactly the opposite. With more time on our hands without the pressure and guilt to force us to do pointless time wasting cult activities, we have grown even closer, which if you knew us you would think that’s not possible.
We have started to build up a network of friends and are enjoying being ourselves with them. Mrs Stumpy said on the weekend, after having coffee with a new couple we just met, that it felt so good being able to just listen to what they had to say without thinking about how you could tie in the cult to the conversation.
We’ve decided to be open with people and just tell them we have left a cult. The reactions have all been positive and people seem to be fascinated to talk about it. Then when we talk it out its done, no big deal. They don’t judge us at all like we were worried about.
Life is good outside the cult. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the future for us… either way it will be free of religion.
Today has been a good day. We just got two invitations from our new friends. People are accepting us and they are so nice and genuine… unlike the so called “friends” we thought we had.
Also today I finally obtained the last piece of literature I needed to complete my collection that proves the society is full of shit – an original unmarked 96 year old copy of the brochure ‘Millions Now Living Will Never Die’. It’s the prize piece in my collection. A collection of original prints that will always be around no matter when or how the society decides to destroy all its old literature in the Kingdom Hall libraries (and it will happen one day). It’s going to go up in my office in a glass case to preserve it and to remind me to never fall for or be controlled by stupid shit or stupid people ever again… to always question everything… and to always remember that it’s far better to live life with questions that can’t be answered rather than live with answers that can’t be questioned.
We’re not hiding and we don’t care about anything Jehovah’s Witnesses will try to do to us anymore. We’re done and are never going back! EVER!
We’re finally free!!!
Now to go and live our life…
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2018